August 21, 2020
Dear TCCBC church family,
We have all been affected by the coronavirus and have been unable to meet in church for five months now due to legal restrictions. I believe that the TCCBC church Family have gradually become accustomed to Sunday worship, Sunday school, Bible study or fellowship groups over the Internet. Although this way of gathering will never completely replace on-site, direct, in-person communication (because it feels different), it is an acceptable alternative during this special time. But we are also worried about many elders who cannot use email or computers or other applications, so they do not have any way to receive church information. Of course, they cannot go online to watch or join churches for worship on Sundays. Fortunately, due to the assistance of family members and the brothers and sisters, most of the elders have overcome the fear of using telecommunication products and have gradually adapted to using these new-generation technological products. For this, we thank the Lord!
However, we have also observed some particular phenomena and would like to share this with the brothers and sisters through this platform. I recently had the opportunity to go to the church’s YouTube account to check the Sunday worship service metrics for the past five months. There are many factors and circumstances in analyzing this data that we are unable to fully understand or grasp. Therefore, I cannot make a full analysis here but there are two trends that may be worth our attention. Please also pray for them.
Basically, because we had started using the Internet for meetings since the very first week, some other churches were not ready at the beginning and so did not have Internet worship. Therefore, some Christians who are not regular attendees of our church may have also come to our website. If we look at all the gatherings from May to July this year, our Sunday worship appears to be slightly down. In the case of Mandarin worship, the average number of visitors: May (81.40), June (70.75), and July (65.25). For Cantonese the average numbers: May (57.20), June (55.25), July (53.75). From this data and relatively speaking, the number of Cantonese visitors is stable, while the Mandarin side had a significant decrease. If you are a member of the church, I would like to encourage everyone not to forget to participate in Sunday worship service. God’s word reminds us: “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
Another point of concern is how much time do we spend ourselves devoted to worship for those who participate in worship? Based on the number of worshippers that YouTube sees each time and the length of time they stayed on the page, a percentage can be made. Similarly, I used May to July as a simple analysis: the average stay on the Mandarin worship webpage: May (31.68%), June (34.37%), and July (40.35%). The average stay time for three months is: 35.47%. The average number of stays on the Cantonese webpage: May (30.58%), June (37.85%), and July (40.95%). The average stay time for three months is: 36.46%. The data leads us to these conclusions: First, if we calculate the average meeting time in Mandarin and Cantonese of 75 minutes each time, then that means that the average time a person spends on our Mandarin service is about 26 minutes and 50 seconds. The Cantonese service is about 27 minutes and 30 seconds long. Second, this number highlights that many of our worshippers on the Internet do not participate from the beginning to the end. As for the cause of this we don’t have enough information to make an accurate assessment, but we guess that many people overlook the call to worship, prayer and praise at the beginning of worship service and just jumped directly to the preaching part of the message. Almost every week whether in Mandarin or Cantonese, you can see such a curve:
This graph tells us that some people jump directly to the part they want when they get to YouTube. If this is the case, from the perspective of faith and worship, this worries us. We are afraid that the brothers and sisters do not really understand what ” true worship” is. The Lord Jesus taught us that those who worship Him must worship Him in “spirit and truth”. Worship is not just listening to the sermon. Before the sermon, the call to worship, praise, prayer and Lord’s prayer are all part of worshipping the Lord. The congregational hymn of response to the message and the Doxology (even including your online offering), they are all part of our response to God. If we think that worship is just listening to the sermon, then we lose the true meaning of worship and make it difficult to feel the presence and blessings of God. I hope that the brothers and sisters can participate in the whole process of worshipping the Lord with all their hearts and focus on the things of God the Father (cf. Luke 2:49)!
The above analysis may not be very accurate, but at least it gives us a sense of the current situation of our online worship. If you have any good ideas for improvement, please let us know.
Next week I will ask Pastor Daryl Watts to write about his analysis of the English worship. Our purpose is to remind the brothers and sisters to maintain faith in God and worship our great God with a reverent heart! Let us encourage each other in the Lord!
Next Saturday (8/29) in accordance with past practice, at nine o’clock in the morning there will be a whole church prayer meeting. Brothers and sisters from all three congregations will be meeting together for a Concert of Prayer. Due to the pandemic, we cannot hold the event at church but with the help of modern technology we will use YouTube to meet. This joint prayer meeting will still be chaired by Deacons Wayne Wong and Roddy Kwan. The webpage link for the Concert of Prayer will be included in next Friday’s communication letter. Brothers and sisters are invited to earnestly pray for the future ministry of the church, to pray for missionaries in spreading the gospel, and to urgently intercede for the current situation and future of the United States, for the general election of the president and members of Congress. We believe that “the prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)
Interceding with you in the Lord
Pastor Job Lee, Senior Pastor
With fellow church leadership team